Two senior Lincolnshire A&E doctors have signed a letter telling Prime Minister Theresa May that some patients are dying in hospital corridors because staff are too busy to treat them.
Meg Kelly and Ravi Sant, both employed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, are among specialists in emergency medicine from 68 hospitals who have warned the prime minister that the NHS is underfunded and short-staffed, leading to an “intolerable” risk of harm for patients.
The letter dated January 10 says that pressures in recent weeks have become so intense that hospitals have been looking after as many as 120 patients a day in corridors, with “some dying prematurely” as a result.
It says: “We feel compelled to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied health professional colleagues and for the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients.
“This current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff.
“We have insufficient hospital and community beds and staff of all disciplines especially at the front door to cope with our ageing population’s health needs.”
The doctors have called for a “significant increase” in social care funding, so patients can be discharged quicker to be cared for in the community.
They have also asked for a review of the number of hospital beds available for acute care.
This intervention comes as new figures show that just 66.5% of patients were treated within the four hour timeframe at major units in Lincolnshire in December 2017, well below the government target of 95%.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was invited to respond to the concerns raised by two of its senior doctors, but declined to comment.
A spokesperson for the newly rebranded Department of Health and Social Care said: “There has been a 68.7% increase in the number of A&E consultants since 2010, and the NHS was given top priority in the recent budget with an extra £2.8 billion allocated over the next two years.
“But we know there is a great deal of pressure in A&E departments, and we are grateful to all NHS staff for their incredible work in challenging circumstances.
“That’s why we recently announced the largest single increase in doctor training places in the history of the NHS – a 25% expansion.”